One of the most common critics that 'not addicted people' give on salsa (or on any other couple dance) is that you 'need to learn steps' and that 'they don't like to learn steps, they prefer to dance freely and enjoy the dancing'.

I can partly understand this critic, even though I regret for these people that because of this reasoning they loose the pleasure of dancing salsa ...


Do you need to learn some steps? Do you need to accept some 'rules'? Do you need as a follower to follow the leader? I guess you do and it is probably true that the steps you need to learn, the rhythm you need to follow, the partner you need to lead or to follow are often (at least in the beginning but often also long after that) an obstacle for this 'freedom', for this pleasure. 


Fortunately for us there's so much to salsa than just this. Or there can be.

I guess copying (steps, moves, styling ...) is an interesting phase to learn and to live but it's also a phase that needs to be left behind after a while. Of course there's also the fact that it's much 'safer' for people to copy and to do what they see around them. This is also one of the reasons why it's interesting to change teacher after a while, change locations where one goes dancing, maybe even change style. And then simply listen to that fantastic music we are dancing on and break out of the routine (literally ;-))


Should salsa classes not stimulate more to improvise, to create, to express instead of simply showing steps and then teaching and asking how to copy? This way people who watch us from the outside will not so easily be able to say that we're just doing some steps we've learnt ... Easier said than done maybe ;-).


Do you want to continue the discussion? Please feel free (:-) to do so in the language you want. Another option is to attend the upcoming Leuven Salsa Festival of 19th and 20th of November with more than 20 workshops dedicated to 'Musicality, styling & expressivity'. More info on On this website you'll find many, many more opinions on this theme.

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